American fighter jets shot down an ‘octagonal object’ near the border with Canada Military news

It was the fourth flying object the military shot down over North America in eight days.

US warplanes shot down an “unidentified object” flying near the Canadian border in the Midwest, the Pentagon said, the latest incident since an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon put North American security forces on high alert.

The object was flying at 6,100 meters (20,000 feet) and while it did not pose a military threat, it could potentially disrupt domestic air traffic, Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder said in a statement.

It was shot down at 14:42 local time (19:42 GMT) over Lake Huron on the US-Canada border, the statement said.

It was the fourth flying object the military shot down over North America in eight days.

US authorities have made it clear that the country is constantly monitoring the skies for unknown radar blips and it is not uncommon to close airspace as a precaution while they assess the situation. But a more assertive response in recent days raises questions about whether such force is justified.

The flurry of defense activity began at the end of January when a white balloon appeared over the US and hovered over the country for days. The US said it was suspected to be a Chinese surveillance balloon and was eventually shot down by fighter jets off the coast of South Carolina on February 4.

The latest object appears to be an octagonal structure, with wires hanging from it, but no visible payload, the official told reporters.

Several US Navy personnel in military gear aboard the ship pull in the white material of the large balloon.
US Navy sailors retrieve a suspicious surveillance balloon off the US East Coast on February 5 [US Navy via AP]

It was discovered over Montana near sensitive military sites, prompting a shutdown of US airspace, the Pentagon said.

“We need the facts about where they’re coming from, what their purpose is and why they’re increasing in frequency,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, one of several Michigan lawmakers who welcomed the move to shoot down the craft.

The latest object was first detected Saturday night over Montana, but was initially thought to be an anomaly. It was picked up by radar again Sunday as it hovered over Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and moved over Lake Huron, according to U.S. officials familiar with the incident who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive operations.

US and Canadian authorities restricted some of the airspace over the lake earlier in the day as fighters were directed to intercept and try to identify the object.

Meanwhile, US officials were still trying to pinpoint two other objects downed by F-22 fighter jets and were working to determine whether China was responsible amid concerns in Washington over what is believed to be an extensive aerial surveillance program orchestrated by Beijing.

Canadian authorities are working to find the wreckage of an object that crashed Saturday over the Yukon, a sparsely populated region in the country’s far northwest.

“The recovery teams are on the ground, they want to find and analyze the object,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Sunday.

“Citizens’ safety is our first priority and that’s why I made the decision to shoot down that unidentified object,” he said, adding that it posed a danger to civilian aircraft.

The three most recent flying objects were much smaller, different in appearance and flew at lower altitudes than the suspected spy balloon.

China denies the first balloon was used for surveillance and says it was a civilian weather station. He condemned the USA for bringing him down.

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